Saturday, July 17, 2010
An Intent to Define Marriage
I was looking at my husband last night...in the dark...right after we had fallen into bed. For a moment, I felt a question forming on my lips, "How would you define marriage?" I wanted to ask. I heard the immediate heavy breathing that finds him so quickly this time of year, and I stopped myself from asking. It's not a time for those philosophical discussions; the ones I love so much and that can last into the wee hours of the morning. It was a wee hour of the morning. He had been working, and I had been hanging out with him...actually I should say I was hanging out "by" him. But I laid for a while pondering how I define marriage. I fell asleep too quickly to come up with a good definition. But when I woke up this morning...I kept thinking about it.
A definition of marriage, according to Bing, is: a legally recognized relationship, established by a civil or religious ceremony, between two people who intend to live together as sexual and domestic partners.
Marriage is a noun. It is not something you do, it is a state of being. I find it interesting that in the above definition, the word "intend" is used. Brilliant. It is a marriage as long as there is intent. As soon as a member of the couple no longer intends to be a sexual partner or to shack up domestically, the marriage is beginning to break. We intend to be sexual partners...at a point in time when our three kids are not sleeping soundly at the other end of our room, and we also intend to re-establish our relationship as domestic partners. So I guess we are in a marriage, by random online definition standards.
The word "married" does not further my understanding of what our relationship is. According to Bing, married is an adjective and it means, having a spouse. Great. So yes, I guess I have one of those. I am indeed a married woman.
My personal definition is still formulating, and my desire for more time to hash it out with my spouse is still there. I will ask him in the next few days what his definition of marriage is, and I'll report back about his response. Maybe by then I'll have a definition that more fully explains what I think about it too. For now, I'll just intend to be his partner.